To prevent users from maliciously redirecting phone calls or changing the behavior of a phone or account, the Phone app supports most, but not all, of the special characters in the tel scheme. Specifically, if a URL contains the * or # characters, the Phone app does not attempt to dial the corresponding phone number.
I don’t know. There is nothing that is specific to Expo that would allow you to override Apple’s decision to block the * character. But if you can do it in React Native you should be able to do it in Expo. If you can do it in Objective-C or Swift you would at worst need to write some custom native code in order to use it from Expo.
So maybe look for a way to do it in React Native. If you do not find that, look for ways to do it in Objective-C or Swift. If, after finding those, you need help using them from your app, then post a new thread here with the details.